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Council sets challenge to capture the benefits of automation

Media release
2 May 2019

PM’s Business Advisory Council sets challenge to capture the benefits of automation

The Aotearoa New Zealand Skills Pledge launched today by the PM’s Business Advisory Council (BAC) commits organisations that sign up to doubling investment in employee re-skilling and training hours by 2025, and to report annually on that investment.

The majority of BAC companies have signed up to the Pledge and are joined by some of the country’s largest businesses, “We think with current signatories, there are over 100,000 Kiwi workers who will potentially benefit from this commitment” said Jacqui Coombes, BAC member and Bunnings Director of Group HR & New Zealand.

As the largest workforce in the country, with around 400,000 workers, the BAC is hopeful that the public sector will also sign on.

The Pledge is the first recommendation from a new report, A Future that Works: Harnessing Automation for a More Productive and Skilled New Zealand, also released today, developed by the BAC and consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

“The report illustrates the impact of automation from a task, job, sector and region perspective which is invaluable knowledge for policy makers and businesses,” BAC Chair Air New Zealand Chief Executive Christopher Luxon said.

“It also underscores the significant opportunity we have to use automation to solve our long-standing productivity issues, especially through our critical SME sector” he said.

Other recommendations in the report include: undertaking targeted research on the impact of automation on Māori; creating a compulsory digital and technology curriculum; creating lifetime learning accounts; and establishing a Future of Work Unit at the highest level in Government to drive needed systems-level change.

“The future of work is really about the future of education” Anna Curzon, BAC member and Chief Product and Partner Officer at Xero said.

“As a country, we need bold actions that link all levels of the education system, including workplace retraining, with delivery of the skills demanded in future labour markets. This has to include clearer pathways for students, displaced workers, career changers and older members of the workforce.”

Organisations can sign on to the Aotearoa New Zealand Skills Pledge and download the report A Future that Works via

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